“Berghain” is synonymous with colorful characters, pounding techno, and imposing bouncers. The iconic Berlin nightclub’s notoriously picky and fickle doormen make getting into the club a feat in and of itself. But while there’s no guaranteed way to get in, there are a number of tricks and informal rules you can follow to better your chances. We’ve compiled a list of 13 tips that’ll up your odds and score you that coveted “Ja” from the big man at the entrance. Slip into something chic and brace your eardrums—we’re going clubbing.
Things you Should Know
- Familiarize yourself with the DJ lineup for that night and the queer history of Berghain before you get in line.
- Dress in dark clothing if you’re unsure of what to wear, but don’t be afraid to stand out and wear something that showcases your personality.
- Queue up with small groups of 3 people or less, and try to go with a queer person or people about 35 years old in order to better your chances of getting in.
- Stay calm and friendly with the bouncer, and if you don’t get in this time, try again another time when the club is less busy.
1.Know the music before you go.
- Familiarize yourself with the techno genre and who’s playing that night. The bouncer may quiz you on which artist is playing in the club and, if you answer correctly, let you inside. Because Berghain is a techno nightclub, researching electronic or dance music from around the world (particularly Germany) and checking the Berghain website for who’s playing that night could improve your chances of getting in.
- Popular German techno artists that you may hear include Chris Liebling, Monika Kruse, Paul Van Dyk, Ricardo Villalobos, and Ellen Allien.
2.When in doubt, dress dark.
- Opt for blacks or other dark colors. Wearing dark clothing is traditional for Berghain club-goers, especially wearing all-black. Choose a club outfit in dark colors, but one which also showcases your personal style. It’s not a strict rule of the club, but it’s the standard, and may help your chances.
- Some events at Berghain do have recommended dress codes, and following these will definitely up your chances. Check the Berghain website to see if there’s a dress code on the night you’re going, and dress accordingly.If you love denim jackets, for example, you could pair a denim jacket with a black t-shirt and your favorite dark-colored shirt or pants.Don’t be afraid to stand out! If you have a unique style, the bouncer may be impressed by your look and let you in.Getting into Berghain is not just about being attractive. Berghain bouncers let a variety of people in based on their personal style and whether they’ll bring a unique, diverse atmosphere to the nightclub.
3.Stay sober in line.
- Avoid alcohol beforehand, since bouncers tend to turn away drunk people. Although alcohol is allowed inside Berghain, the bouncers tend to turn away noticeably drunk people. They’re curating a vibe, and people who’re already drunk aren’t the vibe. Don’t drink excessively in the hours leading up to waiting in line and, if possible, avoid alcohol entirely. Save the fun for when you’re inside.
4.Go at the right time.
- Visit Berghain late on Sunday morning when there are fewer patrons. Berghain is a busy nightclub, and going during its least crowded times will improve your odds of getting in. The least busy time for the Berghain is late on a Sunday morning, after about 6 a.m. Go elsewhere or take it easy on Saturday night, then roll up on Sunday with coffee and a bagel. If you’re lucky, the bouncer might just appreciate the casual vibe.
- Berghain is open Thursdays (10 p.m.-5 a.m.) and Fridays (12-9 a.m.) as well as Saturdays at midnight through Sundays at 11:59 p.m.
- The busiest time to visit Berghain is 1 a.m. on Saturday nights.
5.Go with the right crowd.
- Find a diverse crowd of queer people to get in line with. Berghain is historically a gay club, after all. Nowadays, it’s “straight-friendly,” and nobody’s going to ask about your sexuality. That said, word on the street is that the bouncers tend to prefer people who they think look the part, so grab your good Judy before you queue up.
- If you’re cisgendered or straight, don’t try to “look gay.” Just be yourself, dress a little more fun, and roll with the vibe of the club.
6.Break into small groups.
- Avoid trying to get in with a crowd of friends. Bouncers tend to avoid admitting huge groups of people, which fill the club too quickly and are harder to regulate. If you’re in a group of more than 3 people, split up and act like you don’t know each other. If your friends get in and you don’t, go elsewhere or try again later.
7.Find an older buddy.
- Attend Berghain with older people, preferably around mid-30s. Unlike most nightclubs, the average age of admitted club-goers is a little older, at about 35. If you’re younger than 30, go to Berghain with people in their late 20s or early 30s to improve your chance of admission.
- If you don’t have many older friends, go with friends who you know won’t act immaturely or draw attention to themselves while in line.
8.Behave yourself in line.
- Keep quiet and avoid drawing attention while waiting. You may have to be in line for a few hours before you even get to the door, but stay patient and low-key. Nowadays the club is bracing itself against rambunctious tourists, so a calm, cool demeanor lets the bouncer know you’re taking the venue seriously.
- If you wait in line before the night club gets crowded, the bouncers may judge you less harshly in comparison to later at night.
9.Keep your phone in your pocket.
- Avoid taking selfies while waiting in line. Berghain has a strict no photography or recordings policy. Keep your cellphone in your pocket and leave any cameras at home to avoid any issues with bouncers or other patrons while in line. If the bouncers notice you taking selfies, you may be asked to leave and forfeit your spot. That in-line selfie is a bit touristy, anyway.
- Although photography is banned, you can bring your cell phone with you to Berghain.
10.Learn or memorize some German.
- Speak German with the bouncer, if possible. Because Berghain is popular with tourists, some of whom act disrespectfully, you’re more likely to get in if you can communicate in German. If you know German, talk to the bouncer as clearly as you can—or, if you don’t, learn basic German phrases before you go to make a good impression.
- If you can’t speak German, you can also show the bouncer respect by saying, “Es tut mir leid, ich spreche kein Deutsch.” (I am sorry, I do not speak German.)
- You could also memorize other common phrases like:
- “Ich heisse ___.” (My name is ___.)
- “Vielen dank!” (Thank you very much!)
- Basic German numbers, in case the bouncer asks how many are in your party. If you have 3 in your party, for example, you would memorize “drei.”
11.Keep a low profile in line.
- Avoid drawing attention to yourself, and maintain a neutral expression. One of the most common reasons tourists get rejected from the line is because they seem uncomfortable, out-of-place, or even just overly excited. If you feel nervous, take a deep breath and try to remain calm.You don’t have to have to have a pro poker face, but keep your emotions in check until after you’re in the club.
- Try a quick breathing exercise or focusing on the music to calm yourself.
12.Accept the bouncer’s decision.
- Be polite and civil with the bouncer. Because some people in line may be drunk, impolite, or angry when they’re turned away, the bouncers look for patrons who are respectful. No matter what the bouncer decides, thank them for their time and avoid arguing or insulting them. If you argue with them this time, they’ll recognize you the next time and you may never get in.
- Remember: the bouncer may seem intimidating, but they’re just doing their job. As long as you treat them with respect, they’ll likely do the same for you.If you run into any rude or out-of-line patrons while in line, avoid interacting with them. The bouncers may think that you’re associated with them and remove you from the line, as well.
13Try, try again.
- Come back later if you don’t get in the first time. There are countless factors and reasons you may not have gotten in this time. The bouncers’ ways are mysterious and imprecise, and largely based on personal judgment. You may be able to get in after more people leave the club later in the night, or just when the vibe inside has changed.
- You might, for example, come back in the morning after most of the crowd has died down or early the next night.